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Holding Negligent Property Owners Accountable 

Meyers & Flowers is here to help our clients who have been injured on someone else's property due to negligence, working tirelessly to hold property owners accountable for their negligence and seeking the compensation our clients deserve for their injuries. With the expertise of a premises liability lawyer in Chicago, you can trust that your case will be handled with the utmost care and expertise.

What is Premises Liability?

Premises liability refers to the legal responsibility of property owners and occupiers for injuries and accidents on their property. This concept is based on the idea that property owners have a duty to maintain a safe environment for anyone who enters their premises. The legal principles of premises liability hold property owners accountable for taking reasonable steps to prevent accidents and injuries on their premises. Examples include:

  • Conducting regular inspections
  • Addressing potential hazards
  • Providing warnings or barriers when necessary

When a property owner fails to meet this duty of care, and someone is injured as a result, the injured party may have grounds to file a premises liability claim and seek compensation for their damages.

Premises liability cases often hinge on the concept of negligence, where the property owner's failure to uphold their duty of care directly contributes to an injury or accident. To establish liability, the injured party must demonstrate that the property owner knew or should have known about the hazardous condition and failed to take appropriate action to address it.

This area of law encompasses a wide range of scenarios, from slip and fall accidents in retail stores to dog bites in residential neighborhoods, and it plays a crucial role in protecting the rights of individuals who are harmed due to unsafe property conditions.

Wet floor sign next to woman falling

Who Can I Hold Legally Liable in a Premises Liability Claim?

Property Owners and Occupiers

You may hold these individuals or entities liable if they fail to maintain a safe environment for visitors. This includes ensuring the premises are free from hazards and that sufficient warnings are provided for any potential dangers.


In some cases, a landlord can be held responsible if negligence in the maintenance of the property leads to an injury, especially if the landlord had knowledge of the hazardous condition and did not take action.

Management Companies

Often, property owners delegate responsibilities to management companies. These companies can also be held liable for negligence in maintaining safe premises.

Government Entities

If your injury occurred on public property, such as a sidewalk or park, you might have a claim against a municipal or state government. However, the rules for suing the government are more stringent and require adherence to specific procedures and timelines.


Although less common, a tenant may be held liable if they cause a dangerous condition that leads to an injury.

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Responsible Party & Possible Scenarios Where Liability May Apply

Property Owners/Occupiers

- Poor lighting leading to a fall
- Icy walkway not salted or cleared


- Known structural hazards left unrepaired
- Faulty electrical wiring causing fire or electrocution

Management Companies

- Inadequate security leading to an assault
- Not addressing reported hazards in communal areas

Government Entities

- Tripping on an uneven public sidewalk
- Accidents due to improperly maintained public facilities


- Creating obstructions in shared pathways
- Leaving spills uncleaned in a rented venue

Individuals injured on someone else's property must prove that the injury was a foreseeable result of the owner's failure to exercise reasonable care. Consult with a premises liability lawyer in Chicago, such as our team at Meyers & Flowers, to determine the appropriate party to hold liable for your circumstances.

What to Do After a Premises Liability Incident

If you're involved in a premises liability incident, acting swiftly and methodically is crucial for your safety and any potential legal action. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Check yourself for injuries
  • Seek medical attention, even for minor wounds, to document them
  • Take photos of the hazard and your injuries
  • Collect the contact information of witnesses
  • Notify the property owner or manager of the incident without assigning blame or accepting responsibility
  • Request an incident report and obtain a copy
  • For serious incidents, call the police
  • Keep your clothing and shoes from the incident
  • Avoid posting details on social media

Your actions following an incident can significantly impact your ability to recover any losses. Make sure to follow these steps carefully to protect your well-being and rights.

How to Prove Premises Liability in Chicago

In a premises liability claim, the four elements of negligence that need to be established are duty, breach of duty, causation, and damages.


The first element, duty, refers to the legal obligation that a property owner or occupier has to maintain a safe environment for individuals who enter the premises. This duty extends to both invited guests and, in some cases, even trespassers under certain circumstances. Establishing the existence of a duty of care is fundamental to a premises liability claim, as it forms the basis for the property owner's responsibility for the safety of those on their property.

Breach of Duty

The second element, breach of duty, involves demonstrating that the property owner failed to uphold their duty of care. This may include evidence of negligent maintenance, failure to address known hazards, or inadequate warnings or safeguards. Proving a breach of duty is essential in showing that the property owner did not fulfill their legal obligation to maintain a safe environment, thereby exposing individuals to unnecessary risks.


Causation, the third element, requires establishing a direct link between the property owner's breach of duty and the injuries suffered by the claimant. This involves demonstrating that the property owner's hazardous condition or negligent actions were a substantial factor in causing the accident and resulting harm. Providing evidence to support this causal connection is crucial in establishing the property owner's liability for the injuries sustained on their premises.


The final element, damages, involves demonstrating the extent of the harm suffered as a result of the premises-related accident. This may include physical injuries, emotional distress, medical expenses, lost income, and other tangible and intangible losses. Proving the existence and extent of damages is essential in seeking compensation for the injuries and hardships experienced due to the property owner's negligence.

Defenses in Premises Liability

Property owners may utilize specific defenses to mitigate or negate liability in premises liability cases. These defenses can shift responsibility or demonstrate the fulfillment of their legal duties.

Comparative Fault

Comparative Fault involves assessing your actions alongside the property owner's responsibilities. If you contribute to your own injury, such as ignoring warning signs, your compensation may be reduced. This principle is state-dependent; some states apply a pure comparative fault system, while others use a modified version, limiting recovery if you are more than 50% at fault.

Assumption of Risk

If you have Assumed the Risk, it means you've recognized and accepted potential dangers. When you participate in activities like skiing or skateboarding, you implicitly agree to the inherent risks, which can limit the property owner's liability.

Trespasser Defenses

Property owners owe different duties to trespassers compared to invitees or licensees. Generally, owners must refrain from willful or wanton harm. Attractive nuisance doctrine can be an exception for child trespassers. If you enter without permission, the owner’s duty to warn or make the property safe dramatically diminishes.

What Kind of Damages Award Can I Expect From a Premises Liability Claim?

In a premises liability claim, your damage award is typically categorized into compensatory damages, which are meant to "make you whole" again after your injury. Examples include the following:

  • Medical expenses: These include costs for hospital stays, medications, medical treatments, and rehabilitation.
  • Lost wages: If you've missed work due to your injury, you may be reimbursed for lost income and earning capacity.
  • Pain and suffering: Compensation for the physical and emotional distress caused by your injury.
  • Loss of enjoyment: You may receive damages if your injuries prevent you from participating in hobbies or other activities.
  • Punitive Damages: In rare cases, if the negligence was especially egregious, you might be entitled to punitive damages. These are intended to punish the wrongdoer and deter similar behavior in the future.

Remember, the specific amount you can expect will vary based on the magnitude of your injuries, the evidence available, the property owner's level of negligence, and your jurisdiction's laws. It's crucial to consult with a Chicago premises liability attorney at Meyers & Flowers, who can assess your individual situation and help you understand the potential value of your claim.

Why Choose Meyers & Flowers for Premises Liability Claims?

When facing a premises liability claim, selecting a legal partner who understands the complexity of your case is essential. Meyers & Flowers stands out with a team of premises liability attorneys in Chicago with proven experience handling these specific types of claims. We’ll provide you with a meticulous assessment of your situation, ensuring that all aspects are considered for a comprehensive claim.

Your trust is paramount; hence, Meyers & Flowers emphasizes a clear and transparent communication channel from the onset. Our approach includes keeping you informed throughout the legal process, offering peace of mind that every step taken is in your best interest. We leverage our knowledge of premises liability law to advocate for your rights effectively, which is fundamental to securing the compensation you deserve. To assert your rights and begin the journey to justice in your premises liability case, contact Meyers & Flowers today to book a consultation.

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Frequently Asked Questions on Premises Liability

What factors affect the determination of premises liability?

Several factors are considered when determining premises liability, including the visitor's legal status, the property's condition at the time of the injury, and the actions taken by both the property owner and the visitor leading up to the accident.

How can homeowners insurance provide coverage in the event of an injury on the property?

Homeowners insurance policies typically include liability coverage, which may protect you against claims for injuries occurring on your property. It can help cover legal expenses and settlements up to the policy limits.

What are the responsibilities of a property owner under premises liability law?

As a property owner, you are required to maintain a reasonably safe environment for visitors. This includes regular inspections, repairs, and warning visitors of existing hazards that you are aware of or should reasonably be aware of.

When can a property owner be held liable for accidents or injuries?

Property owners can be held liable for accidents or injuries if they negligently fail to address a dangerous condition that they knew or should have known about and that negligence results in an injury to a lawful visitor.

What role does premises security play in liability cases?

Premises security is a critical aspect of liability. Property owners are expected to provide adequate security measures to protect visitors from foreseeable harm caused by third parties. Failure to do so can result in liability for any injuries sustained due to inadequate security.

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